Militant wanted by Esscom clashed with Philippine army
Published on: Monday, March 04, 2019
By: Zam Yusa
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Kota Kinabalu: The Philippine government forces killed a militant during a clash with an Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) led by a sub-commander wanted by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in Sulu, southern Philippines.

Troops killed the unidentified Abu Sayyaf member and arrested two others, a married couple, during the clash with the about 15-strong group led by Salip Mura, one of 18 Filipinos wanted by Esscom for transborder crimes.

They are still pursuing about a dozen more militants on Simisa Island off the town of Banguingui in Sulu province, Philippine media reported regional chief of the Philippine Navy Rear Admiral Rene Medina as saying.

He said the operations against the Abu Sayyaf on the forested island started on Feb 24 and were ongoing as various military units were deployed to track down the fleeing militants.

According to Medina, soldiers found the body of the slain militant, an IS flag, cell phones, firearms and five pump boats which were previously used by Salip and his followers in escaping government forces.

“The neutralised ASG member remains unidentified. He was killed when elements of 62nd Marine Company, Force Recon Group encountered more or less 15 Abu Sayyaf members under Salip Mura,” Medina said, adding there were no military casualties in the fighting.

When asked whether Salip sustained injuries during the firefight, Philippine Army’s Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana said this was still being ascertained.

Besana also said two Abu Sayyaf members surrendered recently to government troops in Panamao, Sulu, one of whom may also be wanted by Esscom.

Besana named the Abu Sayyaf member as only “Sibih”, adding debriefings were still ongoing.

One of the 18 men named by Esscom it its most-wanted list issued in January is named Sibih Pisih.

Esscom Chief Datuk Hazani Ghazali told Daily Express the command will seek a clarification from their Philippine counterpart on the matter.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for the most ransom kidnappings last September and December in eastern Sabah waters and for aiding suspected Indonesian suicide bombers in attacking a Catholic church in Sulu’s capital town of Jolo in January that killed 20 people and injured about 100 others. 


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